Topeka A bill that would legalize the production of industrial hemp in Kansas is now one step closer to becoming law.
The House Commerce, Labor and Economic Development Committee voted Monday to advance that bill to the full House.
Hemp is a form of cannabis closely related to marijuana, but which contains significantly less THC, the active, intoxicating ingredient found in marijuana. Industrial hemp can be used for a variety of products including textiles, paper, biodegradable plastics and fuel.
The bill, named the Kansas Agricultural Industry Growth Act, would allow the Kansas Department of Agriculture to issue licenses for individuals or other entities to grow industrial hemp. It would also authorize colleges or universities that offer degrees in agricultural science to cultivate and conduct research on the crop.
It would also define industrial hemp as any form of a cannabis plant that has a THC content of 0.3 percent or less.
At least 30 other states have either legalized industrial hemp or authorized research into the product, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Some Kansas farmers have advocated for legalizing it because it is a significant cash crop that requires less water than many other crops grown such as corn or soybeans.